Friday, April 21, 2017

Week 73 - Triumverate, Baby Birds, and Goodbyes (from April 10)

Hello my brothers and sisters. I hope your week went well!

For those of you were already discontent with the consistency of these emails you best gird up thy loins for disappointment! I'm switching cities and I'm being given a few more responsibilities and things to look after  ---> less time to pour into these heartfelt messages! On the plus side I'm moving to the South of Paris so I'll finally get to explore the big city!  [Alex is going to be a Zone Leader in the Paris South Zone]

District changes (the numbers represent the number of 6 week change periods we've been out for)

Last Monday we drove up to Rennes to became the Rennes Elders Power Trio! One of the missionaries in Rennes, a darling Elder Richards, he leveled up and they took him to Paris to be go be a leader there. He had to leave a week early for extra training so that left his companion alone. Enter the Vannes Elders. So this whole week was spent as a triumvirate zipping back and forth between our two cities. Busy. Busy. Busy.
The Power Trio shopping in Rennes

Oh how that was fun! Seriously one of the most fun and adventure filled weeks of my entire mission. Given that we had 3 missionaries, 1 car, 2 cities (3 if you count Lorient where we spent one of those days), a ton of people to see, 4 arms, 1 week, and 3 matching ties we were inexorably impelled to buy it was nonstop and went by in a blur. I feel like I served with Elder Dame and in Rennes at this point.

Engage list of highlights:

1) We went to JL's again. The house is nearly, nearly livable. It went from absolutely empty with everything needed to be done. It was actually abandoned with rotting wood and no utilities. No there just needs to be a few things added like paint and beds. We also found a nest with three little baby birdlets chillin' in it. Nature :)

2) Ate lots of fun cheeses!

3) This week has included more long drives than probably the rest of my mission combined. I haven't spent this much time in a car in ages! Road trips!! I will truly miss verdant French countrysides winding away into the distance. These dangerously thin roads that are definitely not two lanes and require two cars heading in opposite directions both to have a tire off the road. The forests that looked like gnarled, untamed, spooky, horror-movie woods when I first got here who are currently springing and blossoming and rocking that fairytale vaguely mystic look. It is so very pretty. 

4) I got to go explore another city and see Lorient. Our Friday was spent there looking for people to teach and talk with. I got to see some of everyone's favorite missionaries-- classics like Elder Brown and Elder Marion! The later lived in Greeley Colorado like an hour away from ol' Cheyenne.

5) Matching ties! Photos to come.

6) Paris soon! I'm less keen and confident about the whole responsibility thing but that should all  work out.

I was abruptly forced to say goodbye to Vannes and all the people there I loved. They welcomed me in like family. Saying goodbye to JL was pretty darn hard. Saying goodbye to all the missionaries that I took care of and frequented was an equally violent heart-rip. Angelica (The sweetest Chinese lady I've ever met who is moving back to Shanghai here in a few weeks) taught me the worst proverb I've ever heard, "When you make a new friend, it's just the beginning of a goodbye." I didn't like that much; it just kind of made me sad. Now I've gotten as used to goodbyes as one can ever because I've been changing lives every 6 months or so. I've been able to meet so many wonderful people.

Finding Day in Vannes.  Probably the last one I'll ever be at.

 I think that one of the purposes and greatest satisfaction of this life is to learn to share yourself with others. I knew someone for 7 weeks in a classroom and felt like my outlook on things had been dramatically shifted. I knew a different fellow for a total of 17 minutes and still consider him an important friend. I met three baby birds for 6 seconds this week and my heart was melted. I learned some super important lessons from short lived but bright friendships! So I'd change that proverb a little. "When you make a new friend you and that person get to decide how long and important that friendship will be regardless of whether you still see each other." So much of who I am is who you are and what you taught me. I might never see JL again until we're playing harps on clouds, though he's my friend until the day I stop thinking about him and telling stories about him. I think that's an okay definition of friendship-- someone to whom and about whom you talk about. So in that sense... I didn't say goodbye to any friends this week!

I will tell you about Paris this next week! Woooo! Time to change everything again!

Much love and kisses,

Elder Alex Hacker

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